A verdict of death by natural causes has been returned at an inquest for Co Mayo student Sally Maaz, who died two years ago.

The 17-year-old died in Mayo University Hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Before delivering his verdict, Coroner Pat O'Connor said that Sally Maaz had contracted Covid, a communicable disease. He said nobody could definitively say where or when they contracted the virus.

Mr O'Connor made a number of recommendations, including that an expert group review the State's handling of the pandemic; that the HSE noted and learned from evidence heard at the inquest, and that protocols for liaising with the families of patients at Mayo University Hospital be reviewed and updated.

This afternoon's hearing in Swinford was disrupted by three members of the public, who were subsequently removed from the courtroom by gardaí. They interrupted the proceedings claiming that the verdict was "a disgrace".

Closing legal submissions in the inquest were heard last month.

Counsel for the HSE, Conor Bourke, outlined that shortly after her birth, Sally Maaz had been referred to Crumlin Hospital, where she was diagnosed with heart conditions, for which she underwent multiple surgeries and procedures.

Mr Bourke referred to medical evidence, which outlined that the student's ventricular function had clearly begun to deteriorate in the six months prior to her death.

He submitted that the coroner's verdict should be death by natural causes.

In his submission, on behalf of the Maaz family, solicitor Johann Verbruggen, said the appropriate verdict was medical misadventure.

He contended that a verdict of death from natural causes would "fail to account for the considerable and important evidence of the circumstances and the risks that arose in Sally's care, exposing her to the virus that killed her".